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Drunken Master

Drunken Master on DVD

Drunken Master is in many ways like the old Godzilla movies. It's silly, absurd, dumb, but never takes itself seriously.

Except here, instead of having men in monster costumes destroying model cities, it has fight scenes that don't even try to look realistic.

Oh, and the dubbing is just as cheesy as those Godzilla flicks.

Jackie Chan stars as Wong Fei Hung, the mischievous son of a martial arts school master. He's always getting himself into trouble in one way or another, and it often leads to him getting his arse whooped. One day, after injuring the son of a local man, Wong's father calls upon his brother (Wong's uncle) to teach him a thing or two.

Wong then begins a torturous training program that is supposed to teach him a little self-discipline. He soon learns, however, that the secret to his uncle's unbeatable fighting style can be found in a bottle.

I'm not sure why I enjoyed this movie, but it probably has to do with the fact that it's just completely absurd and it knows it. The fighting is cheesy, the script is inane, and the dubbing couldn't possibly be any worse. Maybe that's the appeal?

It's always funny to see what English voice will be given to these Chinese actors, and they always seem to fit perfectly - as long as you remember that this is a comedy.

For any fans of Jackie Chan's older work (fans of his newer films will likely be disappointed), Drunken Master will surely please.

It's hard to review a disc like this. The picture is okay, and the sound is horrible, but that may be exactly what they're going for. The picture is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and for a movie that came out in the 1970s, it looks decent enough. There are a lot of visible problems, but when you look at the quality of Bruce Lee's movies on DVD, you really can't complain. The audio track is Dolby Digital mono, and sounds as you would expect a mono track to. There's only one speaker doing all the work, so naturally it's going to sound a little crowded. But as far as mono tracks go, this one isn't bad. Besides, you're too busy laughing at the dubbing to care.

The only real extra is an audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Ric Meyers. There are also some "bonus trailers," but they hardly count as a special feature.

Drunken Master, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
111 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital mono
Starring Jackie Chan
Produced by Ng See Yuen,
Written by Ng See Yuen Hsiao Lung, Directed by Yuen Wo Ping


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Updated May 13, 2006